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Class i~l2^ifl 
Book .'B ^ 


Sign £f 

Show Card 


A Series of . . . 


Prepared by 


Chas . F. Butterworth, 

^or the 
^^' ' Chicago Dry Goods Reporter. ' ' 




233 Fifth Avenue. 




m # ¥ 





Copy r Iff Aied t/j/ 

*Dri/ Soods Reporter Compani/ 

•office j,^^"-" 
MAY i 5 1899 




The following series of lessons is a concise and complete 
treatise on show card and sign writing, fvilly illustrated and 
explained, so that it will be of practical use to every merchant 
who desires to make his place of business attractive or to call 
attention to various offerings, which would otherwise be 

Any person of ordinary ability, who will read carefully 
these lessons and follow their instructions, will be able to get 
up show cards, price tickets and fence signs that will bring 
business to the establishment with which he is connected. 


Lesson. Page. 

I Preliminary and Materials 5 

II Points for the Beginner 8 

III Alphabets 11 

IV Arrangement and Shading 14 

V Studies 17 

VI Posters 20 

VII Scrolls 23 

VIII Tints for Backgrounds 26 

IX Ornamental Shapes 29 

X Pen Work 32 

XI Script 35 

XII Price Tickets 38 

XIII Easy Illustrations 41 

XIV Cards for Weekly Changes ". 44 

XV Show Cards on Muslin 47 

XVI Show Cards on Oil Cloth 50 

XVII Fence Signs 53 

XVIII Mile Post Signs 56 

XIX Window Lettering 59 

XX Final Hints 62 



CAN be readily noted that the crude 
methods of window advertising formerly 
employed have steadily given way to more 
advanced ideas, until we now have the at- 
tractive show cards and posters, many of 
which are works of art. The object of 
se lessons is to give instruction in the art of 
card writing, in simple and concise form, avoid- 
ing complexity, and laying a broad and accurate 
foundation upon which to study and reflect. In 
the study of show cards it will be observed that 
there are three distinct kinds — plain, ordinary and fancy. 
The first are made quickly and in an off-hand way, while the 
second, or ordinary, display considerable tast'e in arrangement 
and the style of making. The third embrace all cards where 
a great deal of work and colors are added to bring out special 
designs. The ordinary card is the one that should be mastered 
first, as it is the best field for the amateur. The off-hand styles 
require practice and confidence. 


The essential articles necessary to make an artistic card are 
good cards, pure colors and good brushes, and, what is neces- 
sary for success in any art or trade — patience. The first thing 
to procure is cardboard. It can be obtained in all colors; the 
best card for white is a medium weight coated board. The 
dark colors — black, green, blue, red and so on — can be ob- 
tained from any dealer or printer. The dark colors are coated 
on one side only. Care should be taken in handling the cards 
that they do not rub together, as by so doing they become 
shiny in places, and the beauty of the show card marred. 

The student will find that he can make many varieties of 
simple cards. There are fundamentally only two colors to be 
considered, light cards to be lettered in dark colors, and dark 
cards to be lettered in light colors. Tickets and small cards 


for window displays are usually made on plain cards and let- 
tered in some color that will contrast well with the goods on 
which they are to be placed. Avoid iising cards with a body 
color; they will detract from the goods. For instance, don't 
place a pink card on a light green piece of goods. When in 
doubt, use white cards. They are always neat and attractive 
and harmonize with any color of background. Here is where the 
opportunity presents itself to exercise taste. Most of the colors 
mustbe obtained in dry form, in order to be pure, or they can be 
obtained from concerns that make a specialty of manufactur- 
ing and preparing paints expressly for this work. The colors 
are put up in small jars, and with them comes a small package 
of binders. When getting the colors in dry form, soak them 
over night in water, then, to prepare for use, add a small 
amount of glue (liquid glue or a good strong mucilage). Dif- 
ferent colors require more or less binders, according to the 
density of the pigment. The student mil do well, when select- 
ing his colors, to provide enough so as to have a variety. Fol- 
lowing is a list of good colors, suitable for all classes of work — 
zinc white, ultramarine blue, ivory black, chrome yellow, Ver- 
million and carmine. 


The next thing to consider is brushes. The amateur must 
provide himself, first, vv^ith a good set of brushes. It is im- 

possible to do any class of work with poor tools. The better 
brushes are made from red sable, but as they are quite expen- 
sive, a good substitute can be had in ox hair. The beginner 
can procure a few that will be suitable for all kinds of work. 
The better sizes are Nos. 1 and 2 in small, and Nos. 3 and 4 in 
a fairly large brush. 

These brushes, or pencils, as they are properly called, are 
made in a great many styles, the smaller ones generally being 
made with a quill ferrule, while the larger sometimes have a 
brass or nickel ferrule. The hair in the smaller brushes should 
be about three-quarters of an inch in length, while the larger 
should be about three-quarters to one inch. In the larger brush 
there is a large variety to select from, but these will be taken 


up in later lessons. All brushes above No. 2 should be as 
near square on the end as possible. This applies after the 
brush has been put in color, (See illustration.) After ob- 
taining brushes suitable for the work, they ' must be taken 
care of properly. The person who uses them will in time 
learn to guard them jealously, for good brushes are like good 
wine, they improve with age. They must be carefully washed 
after using and laid flat so that the hair will remain straight. 
Keep these brushes for the exclusive use of the card writer. 
It seems to be instinctive with many persons to pick up a 
brush and commence to daub. This should be strictly for- 
bidden. In a store there ought to be one person to do the 
card writing, and he should be held responsible for the proper 
care of the brushes and all materials. 




OF the very best card 
writers never had any 
special training. They 
have a natural talent for 
lettering and card writ- 
ing, just as some peo- 
ple have for music. There are those who 
can make a good letter off-hand and ap- 
parently obtain the same results as those who have studied and 
practiced diligently for that purpose. Beginners are likely to 
be too eager to do their work mechanically, blocking out their 
letters with a rule, and feeling as though they must be abso- 
lutely true and square. All this is a mistake. Even a crude 

attempt at lettering, if it ^ ^ 

shows a freeness from the 
straight and harsh lines, 
looks better than those 
that are drawn mechani- 
cally and then filled in. 
Do not be disappointed if 
the first attempts fall 
short of what was intended. 
Only by experience can a 
satisfactory result be obtained. It will take quite a long time 
to get up to the standard of the cards shown in these examples. 
Presuming that the student has procured the necessary ma- 
terials designated in the first lesson, it will be well to start on 
something simple, like the second example shown here. 


Take a white cardboard — about 14x22 is a good size — 
mark very lightly, what will be the top and bottom of each 
line of letters, and then space off for the reading. Do not draw 
the letters, but mark lightly, so they will all be about uni- 
form in size, and will^fit in the space designated by the line. 
Care must be takeiKfiot to 'mark too heavy, as heavy lead 

25 /oDiscounf ot^ 

During August 


Plain Window Card. 


pencil marks show very nearly as plain as the letters them- 
selves. Now take a little ivory black, that has been previously 
ground in water, and add a small quantity of liquid glue. The 
quantity of binders will have to be determined by experience. 
There should be just enough to bind the color, so it will not 

ExAMPi,E OF Roman Letters. 

rub off on the fingers when dry. Too much makes the color 
tough to work, and liable to crack when drying. This applies 
to all colors. 

Get your small pencil or brush — No. 2 is best — dip in the 
color and try on a piece of cardboard. If the color is thick 
or tough add a little water. The mixture should be about as 
thick as a good rich cream. Keep a stick in your dish for 
stirring, as most all the colors are heavy and liable to settle 
to the bottom. 

Now, having everything in readiness, start in with dash 
and confidence. Outline the letters with the small brush (see 
the second example), doing it with a quick, swinging motion. 
The pencil should be held in a vertical position, thus giving 
good control over the work. Starting with the first letter, which 
is an M, make the outside lines first, then the diagonal lines, 
and finish by putting the spurs on all strokes. Never mind if 
the lines are crooked. It is to be expected when you are only 
beginning. Now follow out the rest of the reading, or use 
other wording if more desirable. It may be better to try 
something that will be of some use. 

Having finished this card, it is well to do the same thing 
over again, as it will give the student practice, besides showing 
where an improvement can be made. After outlining all the 
letters it is customary to lay aside to dry before filling in the 
inside. This can be done with the black, or any good color 
that will contrast and harmonize with the black outline. Car- 
mine or Vermillion is very good. 


The style of letters that should be mastered is that 
known as the Eoman. While these are without excep- 



tion the most handsome and graceful letters in use to-day, 
they .will not answer for all purposes, as they require a 
great deal of space, to give them a. good shape and char- 
acter. But when the student has mastered them he will 
have no trouble in making any of the other styles. Many good 
ones can be procured from any publication. It is impossible 
for any two persons to follow exactly the same style, and it 

Examples of Window Posters and Price Tickets. 

will soon be found that the student will develop a peculiar 
hand of his own, the same as in writing. If your style is con- 
sidered good, it is better to cultivate it than to change. 

While the cuts shown give an idea how the work will 
look, it must be remembered they are made from drawings 
many times larger. When possible it is well to get a good 
card and use it as a guide to work by instead of drawing al- 
together upon your powers of imagination. 



card writer, after 
mastering the subject of 
the preceding lesson, will 
find it comparatively easy to take 
np any style letter. While it is 
impossible to show all the letters that can be used, it will be 
endeavored to make the student familiar with a number of 
alphabets. Then, by combining parts of one letter with those 
of another, some very clever designs may be worked out. 
There are certain styles and shapes in letters that are espe- 
cially adapted for use on cards, where space is limited. 

It is well first. to consider the wording to be used, then de- 
cide what particular letter will be the most effective. The 


Example of Fancy Roman. 

principal feature of the card should be the word that desig- 
nates the article, or the price. When the space on the card is 
ample it is preferable to use the Roman letter, as that always 
looks well, and conforms with any other type that may be 


There is a comparatively new letter in vogue now, which 
is a variation of the antique type. This is easily adapted to 
any reading matter, as it is possible to extend or condense it, 
and besides it is an easy style to learn. Do not try to copy 



exactly, but work out your own idea from it. In that way 
you will derive the most benefit. 

When making cards which require more than two lines of 
letters, it is best to have a different type for each line, as it 

Roman s^'^ Gothic 

Example of Roman and Gothic. 

not only gives practice in making but presents a much better 
specimen of work. The numbers always look better when 
made of the Eoman type. They are easily made, and have so 
much character in themselves, that they are always pleasing 
to the eye. They can readily be changed by making the body 
stroke heavier, and by so doing the display is made stronger. 
Another letter much in favor is known as the Devinne. 
It is a combination of the Eoman and Egyptian, making an 
effective letter, but one seldom used when it is necessary to put 
quite an amount of reading on a card, as it requires consider- 
able time in execution. Then there is that good and well-tried 
letter called the Gothic. It is beautiful in its simplicity, being 
composed of straight lines and curves, and is always pleasing 
to any artist. There is probably no letter in the English 
alphabet that is so susceptible to variations. It can be made 
plain or, by putting a little point on the corner, another neat 
letter is the result. It is customary on all off-hand work to use 
the Gothic letter. , 


Now, if you have a good No. 4 pencil (brush), see that 
the end is perfectly square, dip it in some well mixed, easy 

Example of Antique 

flowing color and, taking a card, start a letter with the flat side 
of the pencil toward you. Make a quick, steady stroke. By 
holding the brush flat you will find the corners are easily made. 
Be sure to use the same amount of pressure on your brush for 


the whole stroke, otherwise there will he a wavy edge, which 
spoils the effect. 

Next try a round letter like a D. After making a nice, 
clean stroke for the straight line, hold the pencil in an easy 
position between the thumb and the first and second fingers 
and, with a rolling motion, make the curve. Practice alone 
can bring your work to that stage where they will appear 
artistic and properly balanced. Do not acquire the habit of 
grasping your pencil hard; it should be held lightly, yet firmly. 
There are many styles of letters for off-hand work which can 


Example qf Koman Numekals. 

be studied and used when the card writer desires a change, but 
do not confuse yourself with too many. It is far better to have 
a few styles and make them well than to try something new 
each time. 


This lesson will show a number of specimens of correct 
styles and combinations that should be practiced diligently. 

This line of work — the plain alphabet — should be dwelt 
upon until the student feels competent to branch out more 
extensively, which can be done by trying a few ornamental 
letters like example. It will be noted that the principal 
features of these letters are of the Eoman character, with a 
few dashes and lines added in places that give them an easy, 
sweeping effect, beside balancing the card. The letter G; for 
instance, you perceive, comes directly in the center of the card, 
thus answering a double purpose in being ornamental, and 
also making a graceful scroll which helps to fill in the blank 



all times, when making show 
,„„^eards, one of the most im- 
\r//i portant points to be studied 
is the arrangement. The con- 
struction of the letters may be 
correct, but unless they are so 
arranged as to produce a good 
and catchy effect the essential 
part is spoiled. All card work 
should be done with the ob- 
ject in view of making each 
word speak for itself . 
By taking the different styles of letters shown in a previous 
lesson some good results can be obtained. For instance, make 
the head lines of one style, and in any bright color; then 
bring out the descriptive matter in a more subdued color and 
type. It is well in the work to ascertain the best colors for 
each particular card. By using a white card, displaying the 
head lines in a carmine and bringing up the next important 
reading matter either in ultramarine blue or black, you will 
make an exceedingly attractive card. Dark cards, while they 
make a very neat style to be used on the interior, are not ef- 
fective in the window, unless the surroundings are in light 
colors, AVhen it is necessary to use a dark card, the choice 
would be a silk green or black. 

The lettering colors for the dark cards are few in number, 
white being by far the most effective. A light yellow or straw 
color does well on some backgrounds. After lettering one of 
these dark cards in a clean white, it is generally sufficient and 
will admit of very few embeUishments. The contrast is clear 
and sharp, and it produces a splendid effect by its simplicity. 
It is possible at times to shade the lettering in vermilion or 




carmine, but a few clean-cut lines and scrolls will do more to 
relieve the studied look. 


Do not conclude from this that it is never wise to indulge 
in shading. Many times it is quite advantageous to shade the 
princi|>fll line. Shading is very simple. If a letter were to be 
cut from some solid material, it would be found, upon holding 
it in a position where the light would strike it at an angle, that 
the edge of the material would throw a shadow, and the more 
acute the angle the wider the 
shadow. (See illustration.) It is 
customary to shade the left side 
of a letter, as it appears be- 
fore the observer. The straight 
side of a letter is generally on the 
left, and, supposing the light to 
come from the upper right-hand 
corner, this would throw the 
shading on the left-hand side. 
There are no fixed rules to be 
guided by. Letters shaded on 
the left show, to an experi- 
enced person, that they are the work of one versed in the 
usages of sign writing. Straight lines take the shading better 
than curves and slants. The sharper the angle on the corner 
of a letter the darker the shade should be. The line from the 
corner cuts through at m angle of 45 degrees, which is the 
universal pitch of all shades. On the bottom the shading 
should be darker than on the sides, as this part falls in the 
deepest shadow. It is not necessary to block the shadow un- 
less the student desires to exhibit his talent in that direction 
and produce an extra fine effect. It must be remembered that 
all this work should be done as off-hand as possible, otherwise 
it will look rigid and stiff. 

All work should have a small space between the edge of the 
letter and the shade, showing a narrow line around the body 
color. Use a color slightly darker than the background of 
the card. This applies to any shading. Sometimes red or car- 
mine can be used, but only with great care. 

These rules can be deduced from the foregoing: Alwavs 



shade on the left, alwa3^s use a color much lighter than the 
lettering color and slightly darker than the body color of the 
card. (This is given for light-colored cards. The reverse ap- 
plies in dark cards.) Never try to imitate a sign writer's 
shading on cards. That is a distinct branch by itself, and 

. Sh()N\ ( .(1 ids. 

fe >Sh I. C<. '-- ^ ft 

Examples of Up-To-))ate miow Gauds. 

what would apply to one would not be correct for another. Be 
careful, in arranging your work, to select the proper lines of 
reading matter to shade. Many card writers get their best 
effects from what, in their vocabulary, is called their "lay 
out," by which they bring out the most striking features with 
a little extra color. 



ALL times the card writer 
should plan his work in 
advance. Not only the 
wording but the style and 
character of the letters, 
as well as the general lay- 
out of the card, should 
be decided upon before the work is begun. There is a ten- 
dency on the part of amateurs to work hurriedly and to fol- 
low some set style, at which they are most adept, in all their 
cards, with the result that there is a monotonous sameness 
to them. To avoid thi? the 

student should have a collec- 
tion of sample letters or com- 
binations of letters for fre- 
quent reference. After the 
usefulness of cards is seem- 
ingly ended, do not destroy 
them, but save them, and 
later they will be of value 
as copies or studies, and in 
suggesting new ideas. It is 
also a good plan whenever 
any card or catchy display of 
any kind impresses you, to 
take your pencil or brush and 
mark it down. You will then soon have plenty of material to 
refer to. 


A great many good ideas can be obtained from any book 
or printed matter, such as initial letters or display type. 
Having gained a number of useful studies, do not try to put 
them all in use at once, for instance, trying to introduce 
five or six initial letters all on one card. An artist of some repu- 
tation in this work once suggested to a beginner that he use 
a few initial letters on a card upon which he was working. The 

Suggestion for Interior 



Suggestion for Interior 

boy immediately started in mak- 
ing fancy initials, and when the 
card was finished nobody but 
himself could read it, he having 
made every letter in fancy type, 
and even tried to make the num- 
bers to match. This only goes 
to show that where one fancy 
letter on a card looks well many 
of them spoil it. There are 
many ways of executing initial 
letters, the simplest is to adopt 
some good type of fancy let- 
ter, the old English or Ger- 
man text being well suited for 
it, and then at the beainning 
of each line of display matter introduce one of the fancy 
capitals, in a different color than the rest of the lettering. 
An exceedingly attractive 
card can be made by using 
a nice, neat black letter 
and making an initial let- 
ter in carmine red. 

Should it be found u])on 
completion that the red 
letter looks too gaudy, it 
can be toned down by in- 
laying the letter with some I 
darker color. To do this 
all that is necessary is to 
fill the letter in with the 
darker color, leaving a 
small, narrow margin of the original color around the edge. 
Do not try to fill in the small hair lines, but only the body or 
up and down strokes. All that can be given in this limited 
space is simply the idea of the work, leaving the rest to the 
student to work out. 


By studies is meant subjects from whicli ideas can be 
taken. There are several illustrations in the preceding chap- 

GoOD Pattenn for Fancy Card. 


ters which will serve as studies to those who have good per- 
ceptive faculties. Do not try to copy too closely the ideas 
of others. If something is shown that pleases, make use of 
it, but try and introduce something else with it. As a rule, 
if one artist brings out a new expression or class of work, there 
are many that hasten to copy it instead of attempting original 
work. On account of this, ideas soon grow old and the field 
enlarges slowly. 

There is danger, when working out new designs in letters, 
of making them too elaborate or complicated. To be of use for 
practical work, the simple designs are the most effective, par- 
ticularly when used in windows where they must attract atten- 
tion as the readers pass hastily by. On interior work, elaborate 
designs are more permissible. Some of the best efforts in 
cards and posters should be made for interior display, to 
be placed on show cases along the counters or on the walls 
of a store. They can be made in a great variety of shapes 
and patterns. One of the oldest and most suitable designs 
for an interior is the banner shape. Shields, circles, ovals 
and other artistic patterns also look well. To make these 
designs, it is best to mark the outline on the back of the 
card, and then, after cutting, it can be reversed and used as 
a pattern for the other side. A good banner for inside display 
can be made from a silk green card, lettered in white, with 
shading or' line work in gold. This gold paint is made in 
the same way as ordinary colors. Take any good quality of 
gold bronze powder and mix very thick with liquid glue or 
mucilage; then thin with a little water. It will require fre- 
quent stirring, as it settles very quickly. The artist should 
take care that it is of proper thickness, or he will be compelled 
to o-o over the entire work again. 



the student has become 
proficient in making the 
simpler cards he will have 
an inclination to exercise 
his talents upon something 
elaborate. There are 
many methods that may be 
studied in this branch 
of the art, conspicuous 
among these are posters or 
display cards, which are 
made in many kinds and 
styles. By noting the fol- 
lowing principles and using good taste a person without any 
knowledge of writing whatever may produce very creditable 
display cards. 

The essential things for poster work are some good pic- 
tures, as they are the main feature of the card. Opportunities 
will present themselves when one may obtain some litho- 
graphs, the more striking the picture the more attractive the 
poster. Next to lithographs come show bills or picture books. 
Every week there are papers or magazines published that give 
an unlimited amount of material to draw from. After procur- 
ing some real good pictures, take a pen knife or pair of scissors, 
and trim very carefully around the outside margin of the 
figure, using the utmost caution to prevent cutting into the 
designs, as that spoils the soft edge which you will find on 
nearly all lithographs. After successfully cutting out your 
picture, select a nice colored card that will contrast with the 
coloring of the 'picture. Place this on the card until you de-' 
cide in just what position it will look best, then mark very 
lightly a few points, so that the picture may be replaced in the 
exact position. 

Lay the picture face down on a clean piece of paper, then 
with some liquid glue, thinned down to the consistency of rich 


cream, wet the back very quickly. Caution should be used 
to have a clean brush, the larger the better. Pick up carefully 
and replace so the picture will lie in exactly the same place 
where your pencil marks indicate. Eub lightly with a soft 
cloth, and do not let the glue get on the card or picture, as 
it is almost impossible to remove soiled spots. After placing 
the picture on the card it is well to set something heavy on it 
to prevent the card from curling. 


When selecting the colors for the lettering choose contrast 
colors. If the card is dark, use white for the principal color, 
and if the card is white, use dark colors. A poster will admit 
of considerable fancy work, such as shading and lining. A few 
scrolls may be used. After finishing the white lettering, and 
allowing it to dry, it is many times desirable to tint the let- 
ters a little. Experiment will develop some very pretty tints. 
By using white as the body color, and adding a trifle of red, 
a beautiful pink is obtained, and if a little blue is added to 
white the result is a delicate blue tint. So on with any of 
the other colors. The two mentioned and a yellow tint, are 
about all that are required for ordinary decorating. 

In tinting take your pink and halve the upper line of 
letters — by halving means going over the upper part of the 

Shaped Poster. 

letter with the tint colors, showing clear white on the lower 
part. The other lines of letters may be treated in the same 
manner, only using different tints for each line of letters. 

With an initial letter and a little shading the student may 
obtain flattering results, which will be very encouraging to 


him. It is not well to use this class of work to any great ex- 
tent in windows, as it is liable to become tiresome to the eye. 
One full size card to each window is sufficient. Pictures 
may be used on small cards for price tickets or other displays, 
grading the picture according to the size of the card. 


There is considerably more to poster work than the average 
person realizes. Quite recently there has been a paper made 
for this special work. It is known as poster paper. By using 
this, far more beautiful cards can be made. There are only 
a few places where this paper can be obtained, but it is well 
worth the trouble to get a few sheets for special work. There 
are about six colors made, but the best one by far is the rich 

color called poster green. It is a peculiar shade that will har- 
monize with any color with which it may come in contact. 
The surface of this paper is rough like felt, and must be treat- 
ed carefully. If the student desires to make cards of this 
material, it will be necessary to mount the paper on a heavy 
cardboard. Strawboard, or the ordinary card will do. After 
this paper is mounted on one side, the card should be reversed 
and some good quality of heavy paper applied on the back, so 
the strain from drying will be equal on both sides. These 
cards can be procured already mounted, and where time is 
limited it is preferable to obtain them in this form. The 
lettering is done in the same manner as the plain poster card, 
except that the color is used much thinner. In the examples 
of posters shown in previous lessons most of the tine detail 
work is lost in the reproduction, as the cards are reduced many 
times, and the fancy shades show only as black or white. 



of the most effective as well as 
essential decorations for card 
work is the scroll. The word in 
itself has many meanings, but as the sub- 
ject in hand relates to the making of show cards, 
the scrolls dealt with here will be confined to that 
particular class of work. Scrolls may be used for a 
number of purposes, as the outside shape for a 
fancy card, or a decoration to relieve its plainness 

Simple Line scroll. 

— different classes of work requiring different shapes 
and styles. There are only a few real parts to a scroll. It is 
the grouping and forming of these parts which make the 
graceful design, that may be seen in all classes of work, in- 
cluding card making and illustrating. 


There are two particular kinds of scrolls that will be of 
great use to the card writer. These are known as line scrolls 
and shaded scrolls. The simpler of the two is the line scroll, 
which is probably much more used than any other in this 
work. It consists of a few curves and straight lines in- 
tertwining each other. The nature of the work must, 
of course, be governed by the space there is for it. 
Line scrolls are senerallv used in between set lines of reading 



matter, where the background shows too strong, or there is too 
much open space. The illustrations of simple line scrolls 
given on this page will show the rudimental parts and give 
the student subjects to draw upon in doing this work for 
ornamental purposes. Utmost care should be used to have 
them present a graceful appearance. Otherwise they will be 
a detriment rather than an advantage to the work. 


It can be observed by the illustrations that both sides of a 
scroll are alike, which idea should be kept in mind when at 
work upon them. If the design were to be divided it would be 
found there were two distinct parts, though it is quite feasible 
to use one-half for a decoration where the space does not 
permit of the whole design. While there are many methods of 
forming designs, the easiest is to make one-half entire and then 
copy this for the reverse side. 


There are only a few ways that the other style or shaded 
scroll may be used, as it is too heavy for decorations. It is 
very valuable, when one desires to make something in a 
fancy shaped card. By looking at the initial illustration used 
at the beginning of this lesson, it is seen how it may be used 
as the border for a card, by designing a few patterns as 
fancy shapes. It will be noticed that there are many combi- 
nations which may be made from fancy scrolls, though they 
have but few parts, as will be readily seen, if they are sepa- 
rated. By taking the larger section and using it as a body, the 
smaller section may be laid over or under it in such a manner 
as to produce some very clever designs. If the student will 
take a full sheet of cardboard, and draw a design similar 1o 
one of those shown herewith (a light tinted card, such as pale 
green or yellow, will do for the experiment), then carefully 
trim the card to the outside edge of the design, which gives 
a good shape to start with. If your card is light, put the let- 
tering on in some good substantial color, like red, blue or 
black. It should be ascertained that the colors are dry before 
attempting any fancy work, as the arm must have plenty 
of room to swing, and would rub the lettering if it were not 
dry. Then take some white, or if the card is too light to 


show that to good advantage, use a color darker than the 
hody of the card, and follow very carefully the design you 
have marked on the card. When this is completed, by taking 
the same color and adding some darker tint with it, just 
enough for a nice clear contrast, you will get a shadow color. 
This must be put on sparingly, the idea being to represent 
carving, and the darker tint should be placed where it is de- 
sired to show the carving as cut deeper than at the other 
points. The raised parts of the scroll work should be the 
lightest in color, the whole effect being to imitate some style 
of frame work. 


The student will find many examples to work upon, by 
observing the rehef work shown in the illustrations of modern 
printing. Many times it is necessary to make a number of 
cards or decorations of the same kind, and, in order to save 
time and the labor that would be required to draft each one, 
we have what is known as the pounce or pattern. It would 
be an advantage for the student to make a few of the more 
common scrolls in this form, and then he would have a 
pattern always at his disposal. To make a pounce, it will be 
necessary first to procure a sheet of good Manila paper, not too 
heavy, then carefully design the scroll or reading matter in 
lead pencil. Go over the hnes with a tracing wheel or needle 
and perforate all the lines so that, when held up to the light, 
the pattern will show the whole design marked out in the 
perforations. A pounce bag is made by taking a thin piece 
of mushn, with a small quantity of powdered chalk or charcoal 
in it, and tying it up in sack form. When this is done, lay the 
pattern on a dark card and rub it gently with the light colored 
pounce bag, and the design will appear in perfect form ready 
to be copied in color. The powder afterward can be brushed 
from the card, and in case the design is not clear this process 
can be repeated. The pattern should be reserved for future 



are numerous ways of producing 
desirable effects in show cards 
through the use of the proper 
backgrounds. There are none 
that are so easily made or show up so 
well as the blended tints or rainbow effects. 
The method of doing this is very simple 
and requires so little time that it readily 
appeals to the student as worthy of adoption. 
The necessary material for this branch of the work is an 
assortment of colored crayons, or chalk. There are two kinds, 
the soft and the hard, but as a rule it is better to select the 
former, though either of these is obtainable at any school 
supply store. The first step in this work, after reducing the 
crayon to powder form, is to select a few pieces of cloth about 
five or six inches square, common muslin preferable, 
place the powder on them, each color on a separate piece, and 
tie each up in the form of a bag. Two sticks of chalk or 
crayon to each bag are sufficient. 

When these are in readiness, the next thing is a piece of 
cardboard. If you use the white coated cardboard, reverse it 
and work on the back, as the front or coated side will not 
answer the purpose on account of its smooth surf nee. The 
card must have a grain, otherwise the powder will not adhere 
to the surface. 


Supposing the following colors to have been made, it 
will be well to start in the middle of the card with a red or 
Vermillion tint. Take the sack or bag of the color mentioned, 
rub briskly across the card diagonally and it will leave a pink 
tint; then take another color, yellow or light green, and follow 
the same method next to the center tint, and so on until the 
card shows color enough. If these directions are carefully 
followed, the body of the card will show a beautiful rainbow 



effect. These colors should be applied to the card until they 
show quite decidedly, for when the lettering is put over the 
tints there will be a decided change in the appearance. If 
bright colors are used for lettering, the tints will scarcely 
show, unless they are quite heavily applied to the card. 


Many novel effects can be produced with the color bags. 
One most commonly used is to cut fancy shapes, such as stars, 
from a heavy paper, and when ready to tint put one of the 
patterns or shapes on the card and rub the color over it. The 
result will be that under the pattern or star there will be no 
coloring, and it will show forth a pure white with the fancy 
colors surrounding it. These tints may be rubbed on the 
card in circular form, or on each end. A little experimenting 
on the part of the operator will serve to develop many original 
ideas, which will not be dwelt on here, for it is only the pur- 
pose in these lessons to give the plain instruction and allow 
the card writer to follow his own devices. Novelty is the point 
to be aimed at, as far as possible. There are other ways of 
producing Effective backgrounds, but the foregoing is by far 
the simplest, quickest and cheapest. 


Water colors can be used very successfully in this class 
of work, but they must be used in a masterly manner or the 


effect will be far from satisfactory. If it is desirous to use the 
water colors, it must be understood that the work must be on 
something better than that on which the ordinary card is 
written, and it will be necessary to procure some cardboard 
that is adapted to the use of water colors. The ordinary cards 
will not answer,- as they must be of a harder nature and have 
a decided grain, for on smooth board the work will blurr. 

Water colors are decidedly attractive for putting the 
finishing touches, such as a few flowers or suggestions on a 
show card. Many little conceits may be applied in this man- 
ner that will help to develop the work in hand. In doing 
this class of work, the student will find innumerable sugges- 
tions for fancy sketches, such as pretty pieces of dress goods 
or wall paper. Those having a natural talent for this line 
will be able to work out unique designs without any of these 
objects for patterns. 


Another way to make cards of this nature is to letter them 
for whatever purpose it is desired, and if they are to represent 
a spring opening, some artificial flowers may be glued to the 
card in place of painted ones. For fall use autumn leaves, 
sprigs of wheat or any natural product that is an indication of 
fall, will add attraction to the card; holiday cards could have 
holly, mistletoe, etc. It has become quite a popular idea to 
represent the seasons in this manner. 

There is one other style in this line that can be easily made. 
Select a dark colored card and letter with white, confining the 
lettering to the center of the card. Then take a sheet of 
heavy paper, with a rough surface, the same size as the card, 
and tint in the same manner as has been explained, using 
colors quite heavy. Then tear a hole in the center of the 
paper, the more uneven the better, curl the edge back -in roll 
form, and lay upon the dark card in such a manner that the 
lettering will show through the torn part; attach these to- 
gether with a little glue, and the result will be very pleasing, 
as illustrated in the figure shown herewith. 



^ENAMENTAL shapes in card work may 
be carried to any extent desired. 
To the profession the term ornamen- 
tal applies to most every style outside 
of the regular square card. To the 
mind of the ordinary person this term 
applies to subjects such as seen in 
the illustrations on this page, 
though in this, as other styles of the 
work, there are many ways of carrying out the idea. 


Those most in demand are what are known as "Index 
Fingers," or fancy panels, with a hand pointing in the direc- 
tion to which the attention of the observer is particularly di- 
rected. A striking effect may be made by using this style of 
card in fancy shape with the wording "Look." Care should be 
taken to give the hand a natural look, as the effect is thus 
made striking. 

The manner in which the hand shown on this page is 
held gives the most attractive shape, as the fore finger and 

thumb make the principal 
^ — -— _iii& ■) feature, besides properly 

I^O O i^----^CC balancing the design. The 

better way for the card 
writer to do is to make a 
number of these shapes in different sizes, and when necessary 
to use them in the reverse shape, it can be done by inverting 
the pattern. 

In making index fingers, a design which no card writer can 
do without, care must be used to make them strong, though 
it is not necessary to paint them in colors such as an artist 
would use in making a portrait, a few good strong lines do 
equally as well. The subjects here shown make excellent 




copies to work by, or a correct model can be readily obtained 
by holding: the hand in that position and copying it. 


The ribbon or panel work must be designed according to 
subject. Cards of this nature are much prettier when cut to 
shape. Ribbon work can be used in many way? in connection 

i^UliVKU UlliBKN yUJN. 

(The price to be (luoted Ijeiieath.) 

with indexes. The idea to convey is that of a flowing banner 
or ribbon with lettering upon it, interwoven and flowing in 
a graceful manner. These decorations are very pretty for in- 
terior and for windows, the amount of coloring that can be 
used making them very attractive. In planning work of this 
kind the design must be made in such a manner as to show 
each fold or wave as it would turn, if it were a real ribbon. 
The portion coming next to the flat face or surface would show 
a darker color, as it must be in the shadow. The idea most 
desired in making ribbons is to represent on one side a dif- 
ferent color than on the other; for instance, the body or face 
red and the back blue, thus making the folds in the ribbon 
show two colors, which add much to the beauty. 

A plain and comprehensive way to study these effects is 
to take a strip of paper and paint one side red and the other 
white, and bend in similar shape to the design upon which 
you are working. By noticing closely the effect of the paper, 
it will be observed that the lights and shadows come out very 
strono-. whicli should be remembered when finishing the shad- 



ing. When a red card is used for the body the heavy shadows 
should be in a color slightly darker than the body color. 


Many of the novelties and new designs originate from the 
ribbon effects. The principal new one is the transparency or 
night sign, which for general effectiveness has few superiors. 
The design for the shape is cut from one or more cards, and 
the lettering is carefully marked out in lead pencil, but instead 
of being put in color as usual, the letters are completely cut 



Plain Ribbon Sign. 

from the card. After this has been accomplished, take some 
thin tissue paper, colored being better than plain white, and 
paste carefully over the back of the card. The inner part of 
some of the letters such as the center of the "0" will be loose 
after cutting, but these can be placed in position and fastened 
to the tissue paper. By placing a card like this before light the 
effect is striking, and the decorating can be done in such a 
manner as to look well in daylight also. 



ingenuity of the pen 
£ manufacturers has 
■ recently been turned 
- to the making of 
large sized pens, es- 
pecially adapted to 
the use of card writ- 
ers. While pen work 
at first seems quite difficult, the student, after he has become 
familiar with its use, will find it a good medium for quick 
work, for maldng a clean cut letter, and for certain styles of 
execution where a brush or pencil would hardly answer. 
• These pens are made in many styles, but it is the intention 

Pens for Card Writing. 

in this lesson to describe only the more common kinds, as 
most of the others are extremely difficult, even for a profes- 
sional, to handle. They are the shading pen, the large 
stub pen and the ruling pen. These will, if properly used, pro- 
duce most of the styles that the average card writer will care to 


The automatic shading pen is composed of two parallel 
strips of metal, set in a holder in such a manner as to retain 
the ink or color so that' a continuous flow is created. The 
ends on one side being grooved, cause the color to flow 
heavier, which forms a shade. The pen can be 
used with a heavy ink, or, if a solid color letter is desired, 
the use of the plain colors will produce it, black being the 



The colors for this work should be used very thin, with 
plenty of binders added, to give an easy flow. 

The styles of letters best adapted to this work are the 
antique, and what is known as the overhand script. If the 

Sample of Antique Letteu. 

pen is used with the flat side toward the operator, it will pro- 
duce a heavy line, while the other side or narrow portion will 
produce a fine hair line. Any width may be made by holding: 
it in an angular position to the upper and lower margins of the 
working lines for the letters. 

Many clever pieces of work can be made by the use of 
these pens. By constant practice on the few suggestions here 
given the operator may become quite proficient in the use of 
this pen. With the lesson will be found specimens of the or- 
dinary kind of pen work, which will give the student plenty of 
ideas to work from.. It might be advisable in cases where a 
card is intended for outdoor use, or where it is exposed to 
dampness, to use what is known as waterproof drawing ink, as 
it is not affected by moisture. This is also used when it is de- 
sired to go over the lettering with some other water colors, as 
the plain colors will not withstand the moisture caused by 
going over them the second time. 


The other style pen is the wide steel drawing pen. This 
is made similar to the ordinary Avriting pen, but, as it has a 
very wide nib, the use of it produces an extra heavy body 
stroke. This gives plenty of opportunity to make bold curves 
or sweeps. These pens are made in different sizes, which en- 
ables the card writer to select one that will be especially 
adapted to the particular style of letter which may be chosen 
for the work. The pen is handled in the same manner as the 
automatic shading pen, but is designed for use where smaller 
letters are required. 

To execute work nicely with pens, the first thing to learn 
is the proper way to hold them. It is impossible to use them 
as one would the ordinary writing pen, for they will not per- 


rait of any up strokes. The work must be done on the down 
or side stroke, and the pen should be held so the entire width 

^tye^iimend Of 
'pen XOork^ 

^^eCapd Writer 

Sample Combination for Card. 

of the nibs lie perfectly flat on the paper. In making all 
curves or rounding portions of letters, the hand should be 
able to move freely and in a circular direction. 

It is possible to make with these pens other styles of 
letters beside those mentioned, for example the block letters, 
and one which is a combination of Roman and Gothic. 


There is still another pen that might be of assistance in 
all ruling work; it is known as the ruling pen. It may be 
obtained at any stationery store, and any form will do. After 
a card has been lettered it may be greatly improved by striping 
a. narrow line around the margin of the card. Next rule a fine 
line about one-quarter of an inch from the striping around 
the inside of the card. There are also other ways in which the 
ruling pen may be used to advantage. 



lettering, as used 
in the modem 
card writing, dif- 
fers materially 
from what is used 
in the text books 
of the schools. It 
will be found when looking up on this style of lettering that, 
while it is an adaptation from the ordinary script, it is differ- 
ent, first in that it must be converted in such a manner as 
to become of commercial use. In doing this it changes the 
character of the original to suit the -purpose of the writer. 

If it were possible to use a pen large enough to make a 
three or four inch letter, there could be made a perfect fac 
simile of the old Spencerian, but as it is, it must be made with 
the brush, which admits of none of the flourishing that may 
be executed with a pen. The Spencerian script, as used in this 
work, is more like the Roman letters shown in other lessons, 
and is capable of any amount of embellishment. It will be 
noticed in the illustration shown that there is much character 
to this style. 


SampliE of Italics. 

The secret of good work in lines depends principally on the 
tools employed. It is necessary to have a brush with a nice 
clean point — if without such, one may be made from the 
larger size brushes by carefully cutting away the outer hair 
and reducing the size of the brush till it is a good substitute 
of the fine pointed pencil. 


The work of making lines should be practiced upon at some 
length before attempting to make cards. There are a few 



illustrations shown giving an idea to start upon. The first 
letter of the example, "Facts not," is an "F." This letter, it 
will be observed, has quite a few flourishes, though it is easily 
simplified if it is desired to do so. For making script lettering, 
the student must develop what is known as the swinging mo- 
tion; that it, to be able to make a quick circular movement by 
allowing the brush to make a clear cut line. Another notice- 
able feature in this class of work is the very few straight lines. 
When commencing upon the script work, take an extra hard 
lead pencil and mark the letters carefully, then try to follow 
closely. If by chance the brush should vary from original 
marking, do not try to change it, as it will make a clumsy 
line. Instead try and conform your letter to the line as you 
have it made. This style does not need to be as accurate as 
the regular letter, since the peculiar form allows considerable 

In outlining the letters, make the body or heavy part of the 
letters first, then the fine lines connecting each individual 
letter after, as in example here given. This work can be 
studied best with a little experimenting. 


As in all other lines, there are many styles to choose from, 
though the one in most frequent use is what is generally called 

Flourished Initial Letter. 

the "Koman text." No matter what style may be followed, 
the principle always remains the same, and should be exe- 
cuted in the same manner. 

Another pretty style for quick work is known as the italics. 
This is part .-cri|)t and part Roman, each letter to be detached 
but still having the running ett'ect shown in script. This 
style is easily made with a pen. the large stub being preferred. 

The last, but not the least, is the signature script. This 



can be used in many ways that will help to bring out the 
strength of the card. The letters should be made bold and 
regardless of the ordinary style of script. It is generally con- 
ceded, of the many ways for designing these headings or dis- 
plays, the best way is to take a broad nib stub pen and write 
the word very quickly and heavily on a piece of paper, then 
enlarge to the proper size on the card. It can be used to great 


advantage as a heading for a card when special attention is 
desired to that particular article. After the lettering has been 
finished, the heavier parts of the letter can be filled in with 
some other color, which will strengthen the design very much. 
It should be remembered that while a few lines of script help 
beautify a card, it must not be done indiscriminately, as a 
card entirely made of script is confusing. Another caution 
would be never to use two kinds of script on one card. 



is probably no branch of the card 
writing art requiring more patience 
and ingenuity than the making of 
price tickets, so extensively used at 
the present day. They must not 
only be attractive, but easily made. 
The particular part of the subject 
taken up in this lesson is the small ticket used now almost 
everywhere, since competition is so keen that all goods must 
have the price attached in order to draw the attention of the 

The primitive form of tickets, with the prices marked in 
lead pencil, or with an old marking pot, must now be laid 

Sample Price Tickets. 

aside and attention given to the more modern methods. 
There is nothing that detracts more from the general appear- 
ance of a window than a poorly made price card, while a neat 



and attractive card will be noticed, even though the window 
trimming be crude. 


The simpler way of making price tickets is to cut the 
cards the required size, then letter carefully in some catchy 
color. Care must be used to have all the cards in one window 
look alike, though the reading matter be different. 

When it becomes evident that the plain cards will not 
answer for the display upon which they are to be used, the 
card writer must look for new ideas, the neater and more 
novel the better. The easiest way to get a good line of fancy 
cards is to call on the printer and look over his stock of ad- 
vertising cards. Select a good assortment that has a place 
suitable for the lettering. They can be purchased very cheap- 
ly, costing but little more than the plain cardboard. 

Another good card for this class of work is the mount 
the photographers use. They generally comprise a very large 
hne, some have beveled edges, plain or gilded, while others are 
fancily embossed and printed with neat borders. If there is 
no supply store near, the photographer will order them. 
These cards look much neater when lettered in plain colors. 


In many lines of business it is essential that something at- 
tractive be used in order to call especial attention to an 
article. Here is where pictures can be used to great advantage. 
Any good picture will do, but if possible use those which have 
plenty of color in them. Other good tickets may be made by 
pasting on cards the fancy gummed labels obtainable at 
all stationers. If it is impossible to obtain them 
ready made, fancy shapes may be cut from plain paper and 
pasted on. Autumn leaves are very pleasing, while stars, 
shields, flags, or in fact any artistic design, adds richness and 
character to the ticket. These fancy shapes may also be cut 
from the heavy cardboard itself and used advantageously. If 
the card writer has the time, he can make some effective 
tickets by covering fancy shaped cards with colored paper or 
embossed tinfoil, then lettering in carmine or some equally 
brilliant color. Cards of this nature will do much toward re- 
lieving a window trimmed with dark goods. 



When there are many cards to be gotten out, it will be 
found a great help to make a pattern for laying out the work. 
A simple method of doing this is to mark the top and bottom 

Sample Price Tickets. 

margin of each line of reading matter on a piece of card the 
same size as the ticket, and carefully cut a slit large enough to 
follow with a hard lead pencil. By laying out the work in 
this manner, all the cards will have a uniform appearance when 
finished. In many cases rubber stamps will be found useful 
when a larger quantity of cards are desired. If the card writer 
has a set he will find by stamping a letter, then rubbing gold 
or silver bronze over the fresh ink, it will adhere and show a 
clean cut letter. Then, if inlaid with some bright color, 
the result will be a ticket that looks well, though the product 
of but little time and labor. 



is now understood that show cards and 
price tickets may be made in a great 
number of combinations. Many card 
writers, while able to letter fairly well, 
seem incapable of arranging their work 
in a consistent form. It is the intention 
in this lesson to show some of the easiest 
ways to obtain results that otherwise 
would require a great deal of patience 
and work. It will be observed by the 
literary public that a current publica- 
tion has been drawn upon to help the 
subject. The illustrations are nearly all adapted from Puck, 
while not used in their original form they still bear a very 
close resemblance. The idea being to show how readily such 
pictures may be used to 
make effective and catchy 
show cards and price tick- 
ets. The publication men- 
tioned is only one of a 
great number that may be 
obtained anywhere at a 
very small cost. If possi- 
ble, obtain the old issues, 
as they are preferable. 

JExtra }! 

Rll Rbouio^^ 

Suggestion for Window card. 

The illustrations printed in these papers make excellent 
pictures for price tickets. The original joke or reading mat- 
ter can be left out and another substituted, providing it con- 
tains a witty remark in reference to the article upon which it 
is placed. 

The reading matter on the cards shown on these pages has 
been made to suit the pictures selected. In many lines of 



business such 
cards or tickets 
could not be 
used, but other 
similar pictures 
may be used 
which are suita- 

Fashion plates 
of the different 

Good for Motto Card. branches of trade 

have many helpful drawings that can be used to excellent ad- 
vantage. This class of pictures, when used on a show card, 
should invariably have a white background, in order not to 
show that the subject has been pasted on. If a little care is 
used in this work, the card writer will be surprised what a 
great number of new and original ideas he will be able to ex- 
hibit each week. 


Progressive merchants must be continually on the alert 
for something new and catchy, but when a new method is 
found that appears to catch the great majority, judgment 
must be used not to 
carry it too far. 
When cards like 
these are used for a 
few weeks they 
should be laid 
aside and some new 
idea brought for- 
ward, then later on 
the first idea may 
be used again. In this way it is possible to keep the public 
continually on the watch for the new things. 

There are other easy illustrations that are helpful, such 
as show bills. Many good pictures may be obtained in this 
way. Probably the most attractive line of cards now shown 
owe their success to the show bills. The great feature is to 
bring out the show card at the same time the play appears. 

Suitable for Price Ticket. 



and make some catchy remark in regard to the play and the 
article advertised. 

These cards have had an almost inconceivable sale in the 
larger cities, some firms devoting their entire time to their 
manufacture. All work of this kind does much toward bring- 


ing the merchant who uses them to the front, both for his 
business energy and for his originality. 

The card writer who has the firm's interest at heart will 
always be on the lookout for some new ideas and suggestions 
that will be trade winners. It is always well when a new 
subject is taken in hand to bring it out with such force that 
competitors will not venture to copy for fear of the ridicule 
it would cause. 



LARGER stores are now adopting 
a system of display cards that for 
neatness can hardly be surpassed. 
The idea being not to fill the win- 
dow with a quantity of flashy or 
gaudy cards, but to confine all the 
energy in one. This is encased in a holder or frame in such 
a manner as to be easily changed, while producing the eft'ect 
of something elaborate and new each week. The expenditure 
is all at the first when the frames and cards are purchased. 
The effect of these display cards are well worth the small 
outlay, for the artistic beauty and finish they add to a win- 
dow can hardly be excelled by any other method. 


The holders or frames are the most important part. They 
must be made so a new announcement card can be substituted 
each week, and should be so neatly made as to always bear the 
finished appearance of the window itself. It is the intention 
of this lesson to treat more especially on the holders than on 
the cards, and to show in a simple and concise way how these 
holders or frames may be made by the amateur with as small 
an outlay as possible. 

A simple yet effective design will be treated of here. The 
illustration shown will give the reader an idea of the finished 
appearance of these holders. It can be readily observed that 
they are made with two compartments, one for reading mat- 
ter and the other for a suitable picture suggestive of the line 
of goods displayed. These frames can be used to advantage 
in the dry goods and clothing departments, though they are 
readily adapted to all lines. 


The materials necessary are easily procured. The first arti- 
cle is a piece of heavy cardboard, or, better still; the pulp 



board used in making mats for picture frames. Select a piece 
about 20x28 inches, and marlc the design similar to the illus- 
trations. Sharpen your knife until the point has a razor like 
edge, and carefully cut around the margin of the inside panels. 
Great care must be used to make a clean cut edge, otherwise 

the effect will be spoiled. If the card writer has not sufficient 
confidence in his own ability, it would be well to take this 
part to a frame maker. After the panels have been cut out, 
the whole mat should be covered with poster paper. In case 
this is not obtainable, a good ingrain wall paper will answer. 
Dark colors are much richer than the lighter shades. 


After covering the whole surface, miter the corners, when 
the panels have been cut away, and carefully press the paper 
around the edges, after pasting it down with flour paste. It is 
well to allow this to dry under a press to prevent warping. 
The next essential thing is to prepare the frame work for the 
back, which should be made from pine strips about one inch 
wide and one-half inch thick, securely nailed at the corners 
and glued to the cardboard. Strips should then be fastened 
around the panel to hold the cards in place. Many devices 
may be arranged for this purpose, but the simplest way is 
to cut two strips of wood to fit the space where the cards 
belono- and fasten them with small nails. 


The face of the mat may now be decorated in any manner 
pleasing to the artist. A few gold lines and scrolls generally 
are sufficient, after lettering the firm name on either the 
top or bottom of the frame. 

When all this work is completed it is well to take the outside 
measurements to a frame maker and have a one-half inch gilt 
frame made with a glass to cover the whole mat, as it is in- 
tended for continual use, and if not protected will soon become 
soiled. All that remains now is to make the announcement 

Suggestion for Corner Scroll. 

cards to tit the panels. The one with the reading matter 
should be plain white, with a neat black letter. The other 
space is intended for a picture, preferably a fashion plate. 
These cards and pictures should be changed each week, and 
:he reading matter should be appropriate to the goods dis- 

Simpler or more elaborate designs may be worked out at 
the option of the card writer, but the one here shown re- 
quires very little work, and makes an excellent addition to 
the display. It is well in all cases to have one for each win- 
dow, and all of a uniform size. The card writer can, by con- 
sulting the window trimmer beforehand, find the nature of his 
next trim, and have the cards ready so that the new cards 
nay be put in the frame when the trim is changed. 



KIND of work is not, as a 
general rule, classed under 
the heading of show cards, 
but the nature of the work 
is such that it may readily 
be adapted by the card 
writer. The professional 
man would indicate them 
as muslin signs. As mus- 
lin signs are intended only 
for use during some special 
sale or announcement it 
can be readily noted that the work must be very showy and 
bold. It is not the intention to take the student through all 
the branches of the modern sign writer's art, but simply to 
select that which will be of service to him, when it is desired to 
do economical advertising. 

For many reasons, it is well to have the ability to make 
muslin signs. 


The more common and useful signs of this nature are 
made on frames covered with a good quality of bleached mus- 
lin, and lettered in showy colors. 

A frame for this work should be made of strips of wood 
two inches wide, securely nailed together at the corners and 
braced, with cross sticks, about every three feet. These 
braces may be nailed across the back, but it is essential that 
the joints be put together in such a manner as to insure a 
smooth surface on the face, otherwise it will show up badly 
when the muslin is stretched over the frame. 

Covering with the cloth is a simple operation, after tack- 
ing it alons one edge of the frame, it should be turned com- 
pletely over and the process repeated, commencing to tack in 



the middle and working toward the end. This method will 
overcome any liability to wrinkle. When the covering has 
been completed the frame should be set in an upright position. 



This class of work is much better executed when placed in 
this manner, as it allows the operator to see all the work before 


The lines for laying out the lettering can readily be made 
with a snap line, previously charged with charcoal or colored 
chalk. Spaces for the letters should be made with char- 
coal, as this is very easily flicked off after the work is finished. 

The next important feature is mixing the points for the 
lettering. It must be remembered that water colors are not 
adapted to this class of work. There are many ways to mix 
paints for muslin signs, but by far the best success is obtainable 
in the following manner. After selecting the color desired, 
procure it in dry form. Get some cheap furniture varnish, the 
cheaper the better, as it mixes easier and dries quicker. Mix 
the dry color with the varnish, until a thick paste is obtained, 
then thin down with turpentine or on large work benzine will 
answer admirably as a thinning property. The paint should 
now assume the consistency of thick cream. 

After finishing the work of preparing the colors, select 
a good size lettering pencil and commence the lettering. 
Working in similar manner as in making show cards, outlining 
first, then filling in. This work does not need the careful exe- 
cution that the show card does. Flat artist bristle or varnish 
brushes are easy to handle and obtain good results. If the 
student will practice on an old board or piece of cloth before 



attempting to letter the sign, he will in a surprisingly short 
time acquire all the confidence that is needed. As this class 
of work is not intended for close inspection, more attention 


must be given to the contour of the letters than to the perfec- 
tion of the lesser details. Care must be exercised not to allow 
the color to drop on the cloth, as the spots can not be taken 


In all classes of muslin work it must be remembered that 
quick, bold work shows to great advantage, while puttering or 
niggardness spoils it. This work allows the amateur to bring 
forward those bright colors he admired early in these lessons. 
When constructing muslin signs that are to be large, it is 
well to make them in sections, about three feet wide and 18 or 
30 feet long, and when lettered they can all be placed in posi- 
tion as one sign. This plan will greatly reduce the labor in 
constructing and hanging, without danger of collapse at the 
last moment. 



AKING show cards on oil 
cloth is much the same 
process as making them on 
muslin, but as they are in- 
intended to see more serv- 
ice it is essential that 
greater care be taken in 
their construction. It is 
possible to do some elab- 
orate work on this material. 
The surface is smooth and 
takes the colors fully as well as signs made on board. The 
frame work is made the- same as those intended for muslin. In 
covering with oil cloth it is necessary that it be stretched 
tightly over the frame, that it may insure a good working sur- 
face and be entirely free from wrinkles. The lettering is done 
practically the same as that on muslin, though the colors are 
mixed in a different way. The most important feature is to 
give a brilliant, glossy effect to the lettering. To do this all 
the paints must be mixed with oil. The colors ordinarily used 
can be procured at any paint store ground in oil. They are 
ready for use with the exception of thinning with a little tur- 
pentine or boiled linseed oil, and a small quantity of dryers. 
"The adding of the dryers must be regulated according to the 
time in which the paint is desired to be dry and hard. A 
table spoonful is sufficient for a small cup of paint. When 
it is necessary to dry the paint very fast more may be added, 
although it should be remembered that the more dryers added 
the harder it will be to make the colors work nicely. 


Before laying out the work for lettering, if the cloth is 
rubbed over with benzine or a mixture of whitening and water, 
it will be quite easy to mark upon, besides obviating any ten- 
dencv of the colors creeping. The top and bottom of each 


line of lettering should be put on with a snap line, and the 
lay out of the letters is best accomplished with a lead pencil. 
The most extensive use for oil cloth signs is for interior dis- 
plays. It is only possible to give a few of the methods of 
utilizing this valuable material. Any reader, who has visited 
the large city stores, has probably been impressed with the 
large quantity of showy signs on the walls, made with a rich 
maroon background and lettered in gold. 


This class of signs is easily made and gives an impressive 
display for an interior. The essential materials needed are 
good gold bronze powder, and what is known as "flock." To 
make this class of work it will be well to start with the sign 
which has been previously covered with oil cloth. After the 
lettering has been laid out carefully, procure some quick 
drying varnish, (rubbing varnish preferred), and add a 

small quantity of yellow, mix thoroughly until both are well 
incorporated. The lettering should now be made with this 
mixture. It is not necessary to be exact, as the work must be 
gone over again. Watch the letters closely, and when they 
have what is known as a "tack," that is, sticky, but not soft, 
rub carefully with a piece of chamois previously, dipped in the 


bronze powder. Keep plenty of the powder on the chamois 
skin in order to cover the varnish thoroughly. After the 
whole sign has been bronzed carefully brush away the surplus 
powder. While using bronze powders great care should be 
taken to avoid inhaling it, as it is made of metal and is in 
consequence injurious to the lungs. 

After the letters are finished the next step is to paint the 
background. If maroon flock is used the paint should be In- 
dian red previously ground in oil, with a very small quantity of 
dryers added. Select a large size lettering pencil and care- 
fully paint around the gold leters, filling in the body of the 
sign at the same time. This will make all the paint dry at once. 
Next the floor should be covered with a large cloth or paper 
and the sign laid down with the face up and apply the flock, 
(which is a pulverized wool), by sifting through a fine woven 
wire flour sifter, directly on the fresh paint as soon as the sur- 
face is covered. Gently raise one side of the sign and shake off 
the surplus. When the sign is completely dry, which should 
be about 2i hours, any flock that adheres to the gold may be 
brushed off with a soft feather duster. The effect of this sign 
will be a rich gold letter on a beautiful velvet background. 
Work of this kind should not have much handling after com- 
pletion for fear of marring its delicate surface. 

Signs may be made and look well by following the same 
method and using the paints only for a background. When 
made in this manner care must be exercised to apply the paint 
so it will not show the brush marks. 

Gold lettering may be done on colored oil cloth in a like 
manner, except that care should be taken not to have the edges 
of the letters rough, unless it is the intention to follow around 
with some good contrasting color. This style of letter may 
be shaded to good advantage. The colors should all be- bright 
and not too much of any one kind. Silver lettering can be 
done the same way, using aluminum bronze instead of the sil- 
ver, which tarnishes easily. 



THE benefit of the mer- 
chant who appreciates the 
importance of fence adver- 
tising and desires to take 
advantage of the dull sea- 
son, this lesson is intend- 
ed. The essential feature 
is the making of small 
advertising boards, which 
are so much used by the retailers in country towns. There can 
be no doubt that they are one of the best means of keeping 
constantly before the people the firm name and the character 
of goods carried. 

Good fence signs are as easily made as poor ones, if the in- 
structions here given are followed. ^ It should be remembered 
that all this work is done with a 'stencil, which method al- 
lows a great many to be made with a small percentage of 
work on each. The general size for this class of sign is 
6x24 inches, and 12x24 inches. 


The boards are readily obtained from any planing mill 
or lumber yard. One half inch in thickness is sufficient, as 
they are always strengthened when nailed up either on fences, 
trees or posts. After a suitable quantity has been obtained 
they should receive a coat of heavy paint, white or very light 
tints are more preferable. When the paint is thoroughly 
dry, the work of lettering can commence. 

The first essential is to make the stencil. Select a piece of 
extra heavy Manila paper, such as is used for making heavy 
patterns. Cut it the exact size of the board, and mark the 
reading matter carefully. 

It must be remembered when making the stencil that such 
letter? as and R, that have an interior piece, must be cut 
with a stay or strip to hold them in place. (See example.) 




It is best when laying out the letters to mark the stays to avoid 
accidentally cutting them, and thus spoiling the whole stencil. 
When all the letters are cut, another stencil must be made to 
fill in the spaces made by these stays. This will be readily 
understood by observing the accompanying illustrations. 
All the cutting on the stencils must be clean and sharp. 

I'm Bound For 


Big store. 

Suggestion for Fence Sign. 

A well-ground knife held in a firm hand, and a piece of glass 
to cut on, will produce excellent results. Having made the 
two stencils, they should be thoroughly soaked in boiled lin- 
seed oil and allowed to dry. The best way to make the filling- 

N o I 

No . 2. 


Stencils that leave no Blanks. 

in or second stencil is to mark out the first one on an extra 
piece of paper, with a pounce bag, then cut away the remain- 
ing pieces. When both stencils are finished, they should be 
carefully fitted together and keys cut. Periods will answer for 
this purpose. Cut these in both stencils, and when the first 
one is applied the second stencil is easily registered by hav- 
ing both periods cover exactly the same spot. 



The next step will be to prepare the stenciling medium. A 
short hair stencil brush will answer, but cleaner and quicker 
work can be done with a plush roller. Take an ordinary small 
hand roller and cover with a piece of plush, having a long 
nap — the common upholstering plush is best. 

The paint is next prepared. Any good heavy oil color will 
answer. This should be carefully worked into the plush by 
rolling it on a piece of glass until the plush is thoroughly sat- 
urated. Having all the materials prepared, it is best to com^ 
mence with stencil number one. 

A few tacks in the corners will hold it in place. The 
stenciling is then accomplished by going over carefully with 
the roller. 

After the stencil is removed, it is well to observe the 
back of it, and if any paint has worked under it, it must be 
carefully wiped off with a soft piece of cloth. The board 
should now be laid aside to dry before the second stenciling 
is begun. The filling in, or second stencil can be used the 
next day. Different colors may be applied in the same way, 
except there must be a separate pair of stencils for each color. 

There are many advantages to a paper stencil that those of 
metal do not possess. They are more flexible, consequently 
adhere to the surface of the board better. A pair of paper 
stencils can, if used with care, make between 300 and 500 
signs. After each day's work this pattern should be carefully 
washed with benzine or turpentine and laid away to dry. The 
roller will also have a tendency to harden, so should be placed 
in water when not in use, and covered with new plush occa- 



S T advertising signs, 
when placed along the 
principal roads leading to 
a city or town attract at- 
tention, and it is safe to 
say that none leave the 
lasting impression on the 
mind that the mile post 
does. While the expense 
of each sign may be more than the ordinary fence sign, it 
must be remembered that comparatively few are needed. They 
are made in a manner similar to the ordinary fence signs. 
Most of the work can be done with stencil. 

Mile posts should be made of material that will stand the 
weather for years. The board for the sign is about 18, inches 
by 36 inches, and should not be less than one inch in thick- 
ness. An allowance of 18 inches should be made on the length 
of the post, that it may be securely planted in the earth. All 
the lettering should be plain black on a good white surface. 
It is best to give the sign three heavy coats of paint to insure 
against the action of the weather. "When the posts are let- 
tered or stenciled as explained in the preceding lesson they 
should be placed on all the principal roads leading to the city 
or village. The number to be placed on each road is governed 
entirely by the judgment of the merchant, though it should 
be borne in mind that it is difficult to get too many. The dis- 
tance can be measured in many ways. The simplest is to use 
an ordinary wagon with a cyclometer adjusted to one wheel, 
so each mile will be registered as completed. Another method 
is to go by section lines. * 


The illustrations here shown embody the more elaborate 
styles of posts. The one with the index finger answers the 
purpose admirably. It is planted on a post about five feet from 



the ground, and points the way to be taken. This style of sign 
may be made in plain white, and the shape can be readily 
obtained by taking two 12 inch boards and sawing them by a 
pattern. The advantage obtained by this sign is that it catches 
the eye so readily. Another form of work is shown in the 
other illustration. It consists of a figure of a man painted 
beside the reading matter. This work is rather more ex- 

pensive than the other, but is accordingly more effective. 
The figure work on these signs can be executed by the ama- 
teur, with a little patience, by first making a pounce pattern 
with the exact shape worked in as few lines as possible. After 
the signs have had the necessary coats of paint, this pattern 
should be pounced on and painted in outline, with a good 



quality of oil black. When dry, the face and hands should 
be painted in a flesh color, and the coat and trousers in bright 
colors, such as yellow and red. 

All the lettering is done with the regular paper stencil, 

though the figures indicating the number of miles should 
be made separately, so they can be changed according to the 


The merchant who desires to use this class of advertising 
would do well to figure out in advance just what roads to use 
and how many signs for each one, and, if it be advisable, locate 
each spot where a post is to be placed by driving a peg. Thus 
when the signs are placed there will be no difficulty in get- 
ting them the exact distances indicated. By thus planning 
ahead, money may be saved by finding convenient barns, 
posts or trees which allow a board about 18 inches by 24 
inches to be nailed on, and the post thus rendered unnecessary. 
In this class of advertising much depends on the accuracy and 
uniformity with which it is carried out. A mile post, unless 
accurately placed, is a source of great annoyance to the trav- 
eler, and to that extent a detriment to the advertiser. 




URING the season of special sales 
merchants must spend considerable 
money on newspaper advertising, 
and purchasers who desire to obtain 
the articles advertised must bring 
the ad with them to remember what 
the articles were, and to keep in 
mind the special prices. Many peo- 
ple will not bother with clipping 
the ads, and when they arrive at 
the store are disappointed to find 
that the bargains they read of are not given prominence. 
Many purchasers could be brought into the store by having 
the ads pasted in a conspicuous place. The large plate glass 
windows are well adapted for this use, and when placed there 
with some special announcement, they are sure to attract 


This part of the work belongs to the sign and card writer 
of the store. The work is easily executed, and adds much to 
the appearance of the windows. 

When special sales are in progress and. not advertised in the 
paper, great benefit may be derived from this lettering. To do 
this class of work it is essential that a good assortment of colors 
be obtained, also some flat camel's hair brushes, varying in 
size from one-half inch to one and one-fourth inch. The 
colors are obtained in dry form and first allowed to soften in 
water. When ready for the lettering, a small amount of glue 
should be boiled and thinned with hot water, and the color 
added while still hot. The advantage of this is that when 
hot the color can be used much thicker, hence it covers the 
smooth surface of the glass better. When the colors are ready 
some delicate tints of green, pink and yellow should be made. 





All the lettering should be done off hand with the wide 
flat brushes. When the intention is to use the printed ad, it 
should be pasted on the window first, using flour paste, as glue 
is too harsh and liable to spoil the glass. When this part of 
the work is finished and the lettering added, neat scrolls, sprigs 
of flowers, grasses or any fancy ornamentation may be added. 


The main point to be considered is to have it look bright and 
catchy. A few lines around the pasted ad make it more at- 
tractive than though it were simply pasted on. The best 
effects are produced by lettering the announcement in bright 
Vermillion and putting the small vines and ornaments on with 
light tints of yellow and green. 


It must be remembered that all this work is done with a 
quick motion, and no attempt should be made to bring out any 
of the small details. It is the dash and color that adds much 
to its beauty. The colors used in this work will, when first ap- 
plied, have a very thin and washy effect. This should not be 
a source of worry, as they will dry with a solid body, providing 
they are used while quite warm. After the sale is over it will 
all wash off with a copious use of water. 

All work, when put on the show windows, should be 
above the ordinary height of a person's head, for thus it will 
not obstruct the display on the interior of the window. These 
same colors can be used on the interior show cases to good 
advantage. When it is intended for use in this way, the glue 
or binders should not be added, unless there is danger of its 
being rubbed off by people standing near it. 

For the benefit of merchants who do not care to mix their 
colors, it would be advisable to obtain some of the prepared 



kalsomine in dry form, then, by adding water, it is ready for 
use. Many desirable tints and colors can be obtained; but, 
as they are more expensive, it is advisable to mix them as 
previously mentioned. Enough to last the season can be 
prepared at one time and the glue added when it is desired to 

Base ment Items 

Men's & Youths' 

$15, $18 & $20 Suits 
reduced to $12. 

Suggestion for Painted Sign and Newspaper Ad. 

use it. In no case must the colors be kept long after the 
binders are added, as it decomposes rapidly and emits a dis- 
agreeable odor. 


When specially attractive windows are desired, paste up 
a bright colored lithograph or show bill picture, and ornament 
it with a generous use of bright colors. If the lettering is 
carried out to match the picture, the effect is striking. The 
bright colors can be used in the work without making the 
front look cheap or gaudy. Where a store has many windows 
and it is the intention to decorate them all, it would be much 
better to make a pounce patterii. By the use of the pounce 
a uniformity can be carried out which otherwise would be im- 
possible. This work is easily accomplished, and is a decided 
help when a special sale is in progress. 



HEN the subjects 
given in the pre- 
ceding lessons 
have been mas- 
tered, the card 
writer should be 
well versed in show 
card and sign 
writing, and be 
able to undertake 
any style or form 
of card to which 
he might take a 
fancy. But it is not reasonable to expect that these lessons 
•will make a good card writer, unless the student holds him- 
self to hard practice. It is the hand that needs the cultiva- 
tion more than the mind, for good patterns can generally be 
secured from printed matter, while the hand must be edu- 
cated by practice, in order to execute that which the mind 

While these lessons have given all the rudimentary ideas 
and principles, there is much that may be worked out by the 
student himself. 

These final suggestions are given that the card writer may 
have material and ideas to draw upon for later study. There 
is a great fund of information that will help to further the 
art and bring out new ideas, but it is possible here to mention 
but a few of the more important items, and explain them in 


Tlicre is a material called flitters, which is simply small 
metallic squares, made from metal foil, in gold, 
silver, copper, green, red, etc. It is very useful for 
card work, being bright, and, as its name signifies, it flitters 




and flashes. There are several ways it may be used, but th^ 
best is for inlay work after a card has been lettered. By 
filling in the letters with liquid glue, instead of color, and 
sprinkling on the flitter while the glue is still wet, and shak- 

Fancy Corner Scroll. 
ing the card gently, it will be noticed the flitters adhere only 
to the glued portion of the letter, and create a striking ap- 
pearance. These flitters can be obtained in any artist or paint- 
ers' supply store. • 

There is an article made of crushed glass that is a good 
material to use on white, as it gives the letters a beautiful 
crystal effect. 

Asphaltum is another one of the valuable adjuncts to the 
card writer's studio. This is an article much like black varnish. 



It is cheap, and should always be kept on hand. When mak- 
ing a card with a black letter, after the outlining has been 
finished, instead of filling in the letters with the ordinary 
black, try some of this asphaltum, and the result will be a 
glossy letter with a dead or dull black edge. As it dries 
quickly, it can be used thick. Should it be too thick in the 
natural state, it may be thinned with turpentine. Since this is 
an oil color, the water color brushes should not be used in it. 
Keep a separate brush for this purpose, and wash it out thor- 
oughly in turpentine after using. 

A very pretty conceit can be made after filling in a letter 
or scroll with asphaltum by setting some small pieces of 
mother of pearl in the black, and pressing it down very gently 
so it will adhere. Any other small objects, such as tin stars, 
or little figures, made of tin foil, will do as well. 

A pretty effect may be made by the use of fancy paper, or, 

better still, some new design in silkalines or light texture 

fabrics. This can be cemented to a card and lettered in the 

usual way. The colors for this work should have but little 

binders in them. 


In conclusion, would add, for the benefit of all who have tried 

to become proficient through the study of these lessons, that 

elaboration of detail and studied technique are not the essential 

points to good card work. It is the broad effect that should 

be sought after, and when the card writer has become efficient 

in this line he has attained to that which is most sought after 

in commercial work. 








Published by 

Dry Goods Report er Company 

Show Card Materials 

In order that you may get the proper materials for 
making show cards, we have prepared to furnish 
you the following assortments: 



S 10.00 







20 Cards, assorted col- 
ors, 22x28 inches. 

40 Cards, assorted col- 
ors, 22x28 inches. 

80 Cards, assorted col- 
ors, 22x28 inches. 

5 Lettering Brushes. 
4: pound jars of Assorted 

8 Lettering Brushes. 
5 pound jars of Assorted 

12 Lettering Brushes. 
8 large jars Assorted 

1 jar Binders. 

1 doz. Colored Crayons. 

1 jar Binders. 

1 doz. Colored Crayons. 

20 sheets Poster Paper, 
20x30, assorted cols. 
2 doz. Assorts Crayons. 
1 set Lettering Pens. 

We will pack these goods and deliver them to the 
freight or express office here for the amount mentioned. 

The good assortment of colors in the cardboards is 
quite a feature. 

Please send money with order . 

Dry Goods Reporter Co. 

233 Fifth Ave, CHICAGO. 



939 922 fl* 

- /